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APA Style for Reference Lists

List some of the rules for APA style governing reference lists. Explain why the APA style is used in research proposal writing. Write a checklist to use when proofing a project for adherence to APA style.

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It is my goal to provide ideas, definitions, research help, and instructions on how you, the student, should approach the assignment.

For starters, let's examine some APA rules.

"The examples below follow the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th ed., 2001 (APA-M) and the APA Style guide to electronic references, 2007 (APA-E). Correct spacing, use of italics, and punctuation are essential (APA-M, p. 290). APA style requires double-spacing throughout the paper, including the Reference List page. The first lines of paragraphs should be indented 5 to 7 spaces (APA-M, p. 289).

For additional examples, see APA-M, pp. 231-268. Sample pages of a completed paper appear on pages 306-320 of the APA-M. See pages 117-122 and 292-293 of the APA-M for information about direct quotations. For assistance with electronic references, please ask us!

Author-date citations, placed within the text at the appropriate point, replace footnotes or endnotes. Two examples:

Martin (1984) urges roommates to settle differences...

In her list of rules for roommates (Martin, 1984)...

If a citation you need is not illustrated here, please ask for the APA Publication Manual at either the Reference Desk or Reserve Desk, or ask us.
Note on Reference List formatting:

APA publishes references in a "hanging indent" format, meaning that the first line of each reference is set flush left and subsequent lines are indented. All citations are double-spaced. Page numbers refer to those in the APA-M.

Book by a single author
Print Source (p. 248):

Gardner, H. (1993). Creating minds. New York: Basic Books.

Electronic Source:

Dujac, P. (n.d.). Ananda. Available from

Book by two authors
Print Source (p. 248):

Bennis, W. G., & Nanus, B. (1985). Leaders: The strategies for taking charge. New York:

Harper and Row.

Electronic Source:

Basford, L. & Thorpe, K. (2004). Caring for the older adult. Retrieved from MyiLibrary database.

Book by three to six authors
Print Source (follow rules for journals, pp. 240-241):

Skidmore, R. A., Thackeray, M. G., & Farley, O. W. (1997). Introduction to social work (7th ed.).

Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Book by more than six authors
Print Source (follow rules for journals, pp. 240-241):

Wilson, E. O., Eisner A. B., Briggs, R. J., Dickerson, W. G., Metzenberg S. L., O'Brien, S. B., et al.

(1978). Life on our planet (2nd ed.). Boston: Dinosaur Publishing.

Book, numbered edition
Print Source (p. 248):

Feldman, R. S. (2005). Development across the life span (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice Hall.

Electronic Source:

Soanes, C. & Stevenson, A. (Eds.). (2005). The Oxford dictionary of English (2nd ed., Rev.).

Retrieved from Oxford Reference Online database.

Edited Book
Print Source (p. 249):

Davis, W. C. & Robertson, J. I., Jr. (Eds.). (2005). Virginia at war: 1861. Lexington: University

Press of Kentucky.

Electronic Source:

Lyng, S. (Ed.). (2005). Edgework: The sociology of risk-taking. Retrieved from netLibrary database.

Chapter in an Edited Book
Print Source (p. 252):

Carlyle, T. (1995). The hero as king. ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides an indepth explanation of APA for reference lists, with examples.